Most conversations and articles around the topic of Pelvic Health focus on women starting at age 35. Pelvic Health information for and about young women and teens are equally important.
“Studies have shown that 90% of girls get their first period before age 14,” says McLeod OB/GYN Monica Ploetzke, MD. “Young girls often avoided seeing a gynecologist, possibly dreading an invasive pelvic exam. However, they should know that most gynecologists concur with recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that Pap Smears not be performed before age 21.”
Although teen adolescents are undergoing dramatic physical and hormonal changes at this time, pelvic health is not part of most health education.
Of the 8th and 9th grade females interviewed for a Women’s Health Foundation study, most had very little knowledge of their body and pelvic condition. For example, 70% thought urine leakage was normal.
They need to understand their bodies to better comprehend what’s happening to them.
SOURCES THAT CAN HELP
Here are some books or resources you can consult for information you and your young woman can use:
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggests that girls should have their first gynecologic visit between the ages of 13 and 15. ACOG offers this help for Your First Gynecologic Visit.
If teens want, they can have their mother or a friend in the room during the exam. And the Gynecologist can explain how they will handle information discussed in private.
Sources include: McLeod Health, Girlshealth.gov (HHS), American Academy of Family Physicians, Women’s Health Foundation, National Institutes of Health